Of all the things that matter to guinea pigs, food is high on the list. These animals eat all day, every day. Appropriate guinea pig foods come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Timothy hay, small animal muesli and high-quality pellets are all a given. You will want to feed your guinea pig the occasional treat too, though. Fresh fruit can be great for this. Does this include nectarines? Let’s find out!
What are Nectarines?
Nectarines are smooth, juicy fruits that are part of the peach family. Nectarines are grown all over the world, particularly in warm climates. These fruits are celebrated for both their delicious, sweet taste and innate goodness. The vitamin content of the average nectarine is impressively high.
Are Nectarines the Same as Peaches?
Almost, but not quite. Peaches have a furry outer skin, while a nectarine is completely smooth on the exterior. This leads to nectarines sometimes being referred to as a , “shaved peach.” However, these differences do not impact either fruit as food.
Guinea pigs can eat both nectarines and peaches as a treat, and they’re both packed with Vitamin C. Naturally, however, this means that the same cautionary caveats apply. While there are advantages to letting guinea pigs eat nectarines and peaches, there are also risks. Let’s elaborate on this a little further.
Are Nectarines a Good Food for Guinea Pigs?
When considering food, guinea pig digestive health is among the biggest concerns. If you feed a small animal too many inappropriate snacks, including fresh fruit and vegetables, it will experience difficulty in breaking down its meal.
This also applies to nectarines if fed to excess. Happily, though, it’s possible to safely bring this fruit into a pocket pet’s diet. Guinea pigs can eat nectarines, will enjoy doing so. Just practice all the usual caveats of moderation, and only feed this fruit as a treat.
Health Benefits of Nectarines for Guinea Pigs
There are many reasons why guinea pigs should be permitted to enjoy nectarines as an occasional snack. The first is that they taste fantastic! This fruit is universally adored by small animals. In addition to this, however, nectarines contain:
- Huge amounts of Vitamin C, which prevents scurvy in your pocket pet
- Vitamin A, which acts as a natural antioxidant that protects your guinea pig from nasty illness
- Comparatively low calorie content, especially when fed inappropriate moderation
As you’ll see, nectarines are something of a guinea pig superfood. We did mention the dreaded ‘moderation’ word though, and that’s important to note. Nectarines are great for small animals to eat, but not perfect.
Drawbacks of Nectarines for Guinea Pigs
The benefits of eating nectarines definitely the drawbacks. There are two key warnings to sound when offering these fruits to a guinea pig, though – and they are both very important. Nectarines contain:
- High levels of calcium, which can lead to bladder problems and even organ damage
- Fair amounts of sugar, which guinea pigs cannot process. This will lead to gas, bloating and stomach upsets
- Lethal seeds that contain cyanide – never let a guinea pig near the pit of a nectarine
As long as you don’t go crazy with feeding nectarines to a guinea pig, there will be no ill effects. There are other, equally tasty sources of Vitamin C, though. Ensure that your cavy enjoys a varied diet.
Feeding Nectarines to Guinea Pigs
If you decide to let your pocket pig eat nectarines, chop them up small. You cannot leave a whole fruit in your pet’s enclosure. Before serving the fruit, you’ll also need to carefully remove the pit and any trace of seeds.
One this is done, chop the nectarine into slices and offer them to your guinea pig. You can either hand-feed your pet or leave the slices fruit in its bowl. Either way, the guinea pig will be delighted just to get its paws on a nectarine.
Nectarine must be held back as a treat and only offered sporadically, though. Yes, the vitamin volume is high, but as we have discussed, so is the calcium and sugar content. One serving a week is plenty of nectarine for any guinea pig to stay healthy and happy.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Nectarine Skin?
Yes, the skin of a nectarine is guinea pig-safe. In fact, the skin of this fruit is just as tasty as the flesh that it shields. Your guinea pig will also enjoy a similar amount of vitamin boosts by tucking into nectarine skin.
This means that you do not have to peel a nectarine before offer it to a guinea pig – but you do need to wash it. All fresh ingredients should be given a thorough rinse before feeding to a small animal. Failure to do so risks your pet ingesting dirt, or even bacteria, that could make it sick.
Can Guinea Pigs Eat Nectarine Seeds?
Tiny seeds are located within the pit of a nectarine. On the one hand, the size of these seeds is a good thing. It means that your guinea pig is unlikely to choke on them if swallowed. This is where the good news ends, though. A guinea pig must never eat nectarine seeds, or chew on the pit of this fruit.
The explanation for this simple – nectarine seeds are toxic. Like the seeds of many fruits, they contain cyanide. If you feed nectarine seeds to a guinea pig, or let it chew on the pit, you risk subjecting your pocket to pet to a slow and very painful end. There is nothing to gain by taking any risks with nectarine seeds.
To wrap up this article, let’s ask again. Can guinea pigs eat nectarines? As you’ll now be aware, the answer is yes. Guinea pigs can eat peaches and nectarines, provided appropriate precautions are taken. Keep this fruit as a treat and offer them sparing. This will provide all the advantages of Vitamin C and antioxidants, with minimal risk of excessive sugar consumption.